Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal Sends Economy Into Tailspin
By the way, the GDP grew 4.4% in the first quarter
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May 27, 2004

Californians, Jaded by Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal, Fall in Line Behind Serial Groper

Must-read article for anyone who followed the Recall Saga, which is, you know, everyone.

This dumb actor is turning out to be a hell of a governor. He hasn't increased taxes, he's on track to finally pass a budget on schedule, and he's just bettered the rating of the state's bonds. And he's ruthlessly pursuing a pro-growth agenda:

The Governor then used the political capital earned in the referendum to end years of paralysis in the state legislature. He turned his attention to California's disgraceful worker's compensation system, which is in large part responsible for the state's abysmal business climate. Indeed, in recent years, premiums have increased by 50% for some employers; in 2002, workers' comp attorneys had collected $226 million, $31 million more than they had in 2001 -- all as California was losing as many as 10,000 manufacturing jobs each month.

When the legislature balked at the prospect of reform, the Governor threatened to seek another referendum. Mindful of the Governor's success in promoting the March initiatives, the lawmakers caved, and passed worker's compensation reforms. While the legislation is far from perfect, it does prohibit "doctor shopping", and mandates that disability reports rely on objective American Medical Association guidelines to evaluate the severity of an injury.

Much remains to be done, but Governor Schwarzenegger shows few signs of abandoning the conservative economic principles that have served him so well. He has hired efficiency experts to conduct state performance reviews, in order to identify structural reforms that will assist efforts to control spending. Squarely in the crosshairs are the California laws that prohibit outsourcing of state services, even when such contracting could save the state $9 billion, according to a study by the Reason Foundation. And emboldened by Arnold Schwarzenegger's success, some Democratic legislators are actually supporting Republican calls to renegotiate the obscenely expensive contracts that Davis and the Democratic legislature gave the prison guards' union -- long one of Sacramento's premier "special interests."

Not too shabby.

California is of course the most important economic actor in the country, and as California's economy strengthens, so too must the nation's.

Update: He's the most popular governor in California in 13 years, with an approval rating of 65%, despite being a Republican in a Democratic state.

How Abu Ghraib fits in with this poll is unclear at this point.

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posted by Ace at 01:45 PM

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